House Votes To Defund Warrantless Communications Searches

The House voted 293 to 123 late Thursday to approve amendments to a Defense appropriations bill (H.R. 4670) that would defund warrantless searches of NSA-collected communications and prevent the NSA and CIA from requiring products to have "back doors" that allow them to more easily conduct searches.

The underlying bill has not yet been voted at press time, though it is must-pass legislation.

Bill co-sponsor Rep. Zoe Lofgren (pictured) (D-Calif.) tweeted that it was a "big step" toward shutting the back door on unwarranted surveillance. The other co-sponsors were Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.).

“There’s no question Americans have become increasingly alarmed with the breadth of unwarranted government surveillance programs used to store and search their private data,” they said in a joint statement.

Demand Progress, which backed the amendment and seeks stronger spying protections that were contained in the House-passed USA Freedom Act, agrees. “This amendment makes a significant stride towards addressing out of control NSA spying and helps restore trust in the Internet and American products,” said David Segal, executive director of Demand Progress, in a statement.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.